Reform of the voting system: a draft law could be introduced as early as the spring

Réforme du mode de scrutin: un projet de loi pourrait être déposé dès le printemps

MONTREAL — A bill to reform the mode of election could be filed as early as this spring, according to the former president of the national Assembly Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, who spoke with The canadian Press after the citizens ‘ assembly annual of the Mouvement démocratie nouvelle (MDN), which brought together some sixty members, a Sunday, in Montreal.

Mr. Charbonneau, who was the vice-president of MDM, has been elected president of the movement Sunday, in replacement of Alain Marois.

This organization citizen has been fighting for twenty years to reform the mode of election of the provincial.

According to Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, the reform is often promised by various political parties is likely to be conducted by the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) and a bill could be introduced in the spring : “After the elections, François Legault said that the bill would be filed no later than October 1st, but what we hear from the government is that it wants to go faster, to give more time to the director general of elections [DGE] to implement the system.”

The government Legault has recently adopted a decree which allows him to consult the DGE for the drafting of his bill.

“The meetings that we have had so far, both with people from the office of the prime minister and with the minister responsible, give the impression that there is a desire to move forward,” said Jean-Pierre Charbonneau.

Mr. Charbonneau, former minister in the parti québécois, the Reform of democratic institutions, see a good eye that the folder is entrusted to the minister of Justice Sonia LeBel.

“What comforts us, for the moment, is that it is a minister hcc insurance holdings, inc which has on file, unlike Justin Trudeau, who was appointed a minister, aspiring [for reforming the method of voting in federal elections]”, adding that “Sonia LeBel believes in the folder”.

Optimistic, but not naive

The new president of the Mouvement démocratie nouvelle is optimistic, but it is not illusion, however : “We are not naive, we know very well that there are resistors in all parties, even at the level of the CAQ. Having taken the power with 37 % of popular support, it is clear that the next time, with the same score, but a mode of election different, the CAQ will not be a majority,” he explained before adding that “today, you can be the majority shareholder with 40 % of the vote, obtaining 60 % of the members, but the parties that have signed the agreement have agreed that the dynamic is different.”

In the spring of 2018, the CAQ has signed an agreement with three other parties (Parti québécois, Québec solidaire and the green Party of Quebec) under which the party undertakes to establish a mode of proportional voting mixed.

The model proposed and adopted by the four parties, suggests that approximately 60 % of deputies are elected according to the current voting procedure and that the other 40 % are elected on the basis of the support that the various political parties were received, hence the term “proportional representation”.

The liberals will they try?

When he was led by Philippe Couillard, the LIBERALS were the only one to oppose the overhaul of the mode of election, the former liberal leader, stating that a new model would be unfavourable to the regions.

But Jean-Pierre Charbonneau believes that it is not impossible that the party changes his mind : “For the time being, the liberals have not changed their tune, but the head of the file to the national Assembly for the PLQ is Sébastien Proulx, a former member of the ADQ which was in favour of the reform of the voting system. There are also members who we have contacted and who have questions. It must be remembered, also, that Alexandre Taillefer, who was the president of the campaign for the LIBERALS in the last election, is supportive, and he had signed our agreement a year ago.”

Mr. Charbonneau recalled to The canadian Press that the provincial liberals have found three times on the benches of the opposition, even though they had obtained the majority of the vote (in 1944, 1966 and 1998).

Put water in his wine

The president of the Mouvement démocratie nouvelle insists that each party will have to put water in his wine : “No one party will obtain the ideal model he has in mind. Everyone will have to make sure that this is an acceptable compromise. It is unclear to what extent they will be able to hear each other and our work [Mouvement démocratie nouvelle] is to be facilitators, for which an agreement to intervene”.

Ex-mps of various political persuasions, are also part of the Mouvement démocratie nouvelle (MDN). They include former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, former liberal mna Gilles Ouimet, the ex-mp caquiste Hélène Daneault, as well as Françoise David, former member of Québec solidaire. The former director-general of elections of Quebec, Marcel Blanchet, and the former president of the Mouvement Desjardins, Claude Béland, just as the businessman Alexandre Taillefer, are also part of DND. The former president of the political Commission of the QLP and co-founder of the democratic Action of Quebec, Jean Allaire, also figures among its members.

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